Country Profile: Malawi


All around the world, your Famine funds are making an impact by helping to feed children! Each month we’ll feature a country where students can designate their Famine funds this year. In this edition we will  brief you on the basics of Malawi; fast facts, cultural info and insight into how World Vision is making a difference in the lives of the people who live there.

Fast Facts:

  • Population: 14,900,000
  • Capital: Lilongwe
  • Language: Chichewa
  • Life expectancy: 43 years
  • Area-Comparative: Slightly smaller than Pennsylvania
  • 40% of Malawians live on less than $1 a day
  • Nearly 1 million people live with HIV


Music:  Malawi’s musical traditions have been influenced by the native people of South Africa and Tanzania. Common musical instruments include drums, the mambilira (similar to the xylophone) and rattles/shakers known as ‘maseche’ which are tied to the legs and arms of dancers.

Food: Popular foods include Nsima (boiled cornmeal eaten twice a day), often paired with chicken or goat. Common fruits include mangoes, melons, oranges, bananas and pineapples.

Sports: Football (soccer) has a long history in Malawi and is widely enjoyed. It is played at all levels including nationally. Netball is popular among schoolgirls and is also played at a national level.

Best known for:

  • Lake Malawi, the third largest lake in Africa, is a major tourist attraction in the country. It is also especially famous for cichlids, a unique and colorful species of freshwater fish.
  • Famous orchids grow in Malawi’s Nyika National Park.
  • Malawi offers some of the best fresh water diving in the world.

World Vision’s work:

  • World Vision has been working in Malawifor over 35 years.
  • More than 124,000 children are registered in World Vision’s sponsorship program.
  • World Vision runs 39 development programs focusing on:

-Access to education, health care and nutrition.
Training local farmers in pond construction and
maintenance, disease prevention and treatment, and
fish feeding and harvesting.
-Agricultural training for fruit and vegetable production.

  • In 2011, the 30 Hour Famine helped World Vision build irrigation systems, reducing farmers’ reliance on seasonal rainfall and enabling them to grow crops year round.
  • Last year we also helped provide families with livestock and agricultural tools, increasing their access to nutritious food. Bravo!

Fun facts:

  • Soft drinks, such as Coca-Cola, are very popular inMalawi.
  • Hiking, golf and water sports are gaining in popularity because of the country’s many national parks.
  • Because of Malawian’s incredible friendliness, the country is often referred to as the ‘Warm Heart of Africa.’